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What motorbikes can I ride on a car licence?

Got a full UK driving licence? Find out what motorbikes you can ride with a full car licence, plus prerequisites to ride 125cc and 150cc motorbikes in the UK.

We cover how to get a motorbike license in our very comprehensive guide. However, we appreciate that it can be a little confusing navigating the UK's car and motorbike licensing system - especially as a car licence grants you access to ride certain bikes. Before getting how to get a motorbike financeto afford your next bike, if you’ve been wondering what you can and can’t ride with a current car licence, we’ve detailed a step-by-step guide on the kinds of bikes you can ride with just a car licence.

How your car licence works for motorbike riding

If you got a full car licence before 1st February 2001 - then you can ride a moped (also known as a scooter) up to 50cc capacity without L plates, nor need to take a moped riding test. If you got your licence after this date, then there are a few things you need to do before you can ride a moped or motorbike.

Can I ride a 125cc on a car licence?

Yes and no - if you have a full UK driving licence, you can ride a moped (up to 50cc) without additional tests (assuming you passed before 2001). However, to ride a motorcycle up to 125cc, you must complete the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course. The course typically lasts for a day, and upon passing, you'll receive a certificate that allows you to ride a 125cc motorbike on roads with L-plates for two years. You will have to repeat the test once your certificate expires. Keep in mind that with just a CBT and car licence, you can't carry passengers or ride on motorways.

<em>Got a motorbike you need to keep off the road whilst you get your CBT or Category A licence? Check out our ,[object Object], guide so you can legally keep your motorbike off the road until you’re qualified to ride it.</em>

Do I need a provisional licence before I learn to ride a motorbike?

Yes, you need a provisional licence in the UK in order to ride a moped or 125cc motorbike. It’s easy to apply for a provisional licence via the DVLA.

With this licence, you can enrol on a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course, which is the first step in getting a licence to ride a 125cc bike.

Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) - how does it work?

Taking a CBT is an exciting time for first-time riders, because when you pass, you can officially ride a 125cc motorbike. This is what you can expect to learn on a CBT:

  • An introduction to CBT
  • Practical 'on-site' training
  • Practical 'on-site' riding
  • Practical on-road training
  • Practical on-road riding.

Once you've completed your CBT test, you'll receive a certificate that’s valid for two years, and there’s no theory test like with a car licence. Once you have your certificate, you can ride:

  • Mopeds with a top speed of 45 km/h
  • Motorcycles up to 125cc, provided their power doesn’t exceed 11kW.

However, there are restrictions upon gaining your certificate. L plates must be displayed, and you cannot carry a pillion, passengers or ride on motorways.

What category is a full motorbike licence?

Category A is a full motorcycle licence, allowing you to ride any capacity motorcycle, with no restrictions. Once you have passed your Practical Test, you will have a licence to ride any motorcycle without any restrictions.

I have Category “A” on my driving licence, can I ride a motorbike?

Yes - with Category A entitlement on your driving licence, you can ride any motorcycle with no maximum power limit, including a pillion passenger carriage and riding on motorways. To check whether your licence is Category A, look at the back of your driving license. You’ll see a gird and numbers between 9 and 12. Columns marked '9' refer to the types of vehicles you can drive, whereas columns '10' and '11' indicate the start and expiry dates of your licence for the various categories of vehicles. It's important to know what type of car you can drive.Check whether your licence is indeed Category A by looking for these particular rows:

  • Category AM (moped)
  • A1 (up to 125cc)
  • A2 (restricted, replaces the old 33bhp limit)
  • or simply Category A
  • How do I get a Category A motorbike licence to ride any bike?

    Initially, you must take a CBT course. Following that, you need to take the Motorcycle Theory Test and undergo training, followed by a Practical Test on a motorbike with at least 35kW power output. Once you clear your Practical Test, you'll be able to get a Category A licence, which allows you to ride any motorcycle without limitations.

    If you've maintained an 'A2' License category for a minimum of 2 years, the age requirement drops to 21. In this scenario, you only need to complete the Module 1 and Module 2 Practical tests using a more powerful motorcycle. There's no need to redo the CBT or Motorcycle Theory test.

    A, A1 and A2 licence - what’s the difference?

    This is where getting a bike licence can get a little confusing - here’s a breakdown:

    A1 full licence

    From age 17, you can get an A1 licence. Between 17 to 19 years old, you can only learn and train on bikes up to 125cc that don’t have more than 11kW power. After passing the A1 test, you can ride a 125cc bike without learner plates, take a friend on the back, and ride on motorways.

    A2 licence

    For those between 19 and 24, the A2 licence is what you aim for. This lets you ride bikes with power up to 35kW (47BhP). If you have an A1 licence, you need to take another practical test but not the theory one. With an A2 licence, you can ride bigger bikes of at least 395cc and up to 35kW. No learner plates are needed, you can take a passenger, and you can use motorways.

    A licence

    If you’re 24 or older, or have held an A2 licence for 2 years, you can aim for the DAS Licence. It’s a full licence that lets you ride any bike, regardless of its size or power. You get this by taking a Direct Access (DAS) course and testing on a bike that's over 595cc and has at least 40kW power. After passing, you can ride any bike, won’t need learner plates, can carry a passenger, and use motorways.

    Ready to get your CBT or Category A licence? Be sure to check out the Superbike Loans blog for all of our motorbike reviews, so you can stay up-to-date of the best bikes out there when you consider financing a motorbike of your own. Contact us if you’d like further information on how to finance a motorbike on bad credit, or ask general questions about how financing works with us.

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